Infill: The mesh pattern inside the 3D print that provides structure.
Layer height: Also known as layer resolution, this is the thickness of one printed layer measured in millimeters. With a thinner layer height you will usually increase the quality of the print, leading to a smoother surface and more detail visible in the Z-direction of the model.
Mesh: The term for the net of polygons that describes the surface of a 3D model. For example, an STL file is simply a description of a triangular mesh.
Nozzle: The nozzle is the component of a 3D printer that deposits the molten filament into the build area. There are many different types of 3D printer nozzles available and leveraging their different strengths is important. Standard brass nozzles are great for general purpose 3D printing but abrasive filament like NylonX requires a high performance nozzle. Copper plated and CleanTip specialty nozzles are built to stay clean and not let filament stick to them.
OBJ file: An acronym for Object File which is a frequently used file format used in 3D modeling software. This text-based geometry definition file format was first developed by Wavefront Technologies.
Overhang: This is the part of a 3D model that hangs in midair. Remember, you can’t print in air. A rule of thumb is that you can successfully print an overhang of less than 45° unsupported.
Parametric: An adjective that means something is adjustable in all dimensions. A parametric model is one that can be resized and or distorted to suit the user’s needs.
PLA: Polylactic Acid, a thermoplastic made from fermented plant starch (usually corn). It is an alternative to petroleum-based plastics. PLA is technically carbon neutral in that it comes from renewable, carbon-absorbing plants, and it does not emit toxic fumes when incinerated. However, PLA biodegrades slowly, with a minimum of 100 years, unless it is subjected to industrial composting. PLA has a very low shrinkage, which makes it ideal for 3D models and prototyping at home.
Print speed: The speed at which the print head moves while it is printing. Based on the print speed the amount of plastic that needs to be extruded will be calculated.
Positioning precision: The accuracy with which the print head moves in the X and Y direction. Instead of moving around in a perfect circle, the print head moves in steps of 12.5 micron.
PVA: Polyvinyl Alcohol is a water-soluble filament used as 3D printing material for support. It is generally used as one of the filaments in dual extrusion 3D printers. PVA filament must be stored with a drying agent, since it will absorb moisture out of the air very easily. PVA also decomposes above 200°C. PVA is fully degradable and is quick to dissolve. To speed up dissolving, apply heat and agitation.
Raft: This is the printing technique for adding removable support material at the bottom of a print in order to prevent warping. The raft itself is the horizontal latticework of filament located between the model and the build plate. Rafts can be useful when the bottom surface of a model is not completely flat or when the print has difficulty adhering to the build plate. Rafts are also used to help stabilize models with small footprints.
Rendering: The process of producing an image based on three-dimensional data on a computer.
Resizing: The process of altering the size of your model.
Retraction: Retraction is the recoil movement of the filament necessary to prevent dripping of material during movements and displacements that the vacuum extruder performs during 3D printing.